Chianti Classico DOCG Castellare Riserva 2006, Toscana, Italy

I would drink Chianti with pretty much any meal. I even love how a Chianti is spelled. I like to picture myself zooming around the villages of Tuscany on a Vespa carrying a wicker basket loaded with prosciutto (another word that is fun to spell) and a bottle of Chianti popping out of the side of my backpack at opposite angle a loaf of fresh baked bread. Chianti’s charm starts before you open the bottle. It lives in a place in my imagination where Chianti is still sold in wicker-bottomed teardrop shaped bottles. I love it when a Chianti has a shade of Cherry Coke without the fizz. (Note to self: try Chianti with a smoked meat platter, hold the dill pickles please.) Castellare Di Castellina captures that sweet, fruity cherry with their Chianti Classico DOCG Castellare Riserva. 2006 made some wonderfully ripe and fruity wines in Tuscany, consider this exhibit A. This wine is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo Nero, and I suspect that helps with dark colouration and intense fruitiness.

Take a road trip on along a coastal highway and make your day’s end special with stop at inn that serves up home cooking and doesn’t mind if you open up a bottle wine with your meal. Make sure that your in-car iPod or CD player has Natalie Cole’s cherry coated cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Pink Cadillac to get you in the mood. Parental Warning: may trick a few casual wine drinkers into thinking this is a Californian wine. Enjoy your meal and try to twist the inn-keepers arm to play some Pink Martini. Their tunes make for the perfect combination of electronic funky and jazz sophistication to ride shotgun on this runaway American (like) dream.

Rolling the clock a year forward and offering a purebred Sangiovese version of Chianti, the Chianti Classico DOCG Villa Cafaggio 2007 by Casa Girelli is not feeling California, nor looking Minnesota (early 90′s Soundgarden grunge reference, don’t worry if you don’t get it!) With a glass of this wine you will see that it is a more conservative wine. It pushes the conversation away from images of unbridled freedom into a theatre whose architecture is inspired by the masters. Perhaps short of being a masterpiece itself, it is clearly made by a wine maker who has honed his skills. Like any composer of Classical music or the Opera aspires to be held on equal footing with Verdi or Rossini, this wine is more reminiscent of contemporary composers who have access to the accrued knowledge of glorious history of Italian opera composition. It also wears the heavy albatross of surpassing the previous masterpieces, without the license of innovation. Listening: Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack to the movie, The Legend of 1900.

Let me know what wine you would match with this music.

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